Contact: Richard Bowdon SSP '74, Executive Director
High Schoolers to Study Near-Earth Asteroids
Jan. 3, 2008 -- Applications are now open for the 2008 Summer Science Program (SSP), a six-week residential enrichment program in which small teams of gifted high school students apply physics, calculus, and programming to calculate the orbit of a near-earth asteroid – and the chances it might collide with earth someday. One of the oldest (since 1959) and most successful pre-college research programs, SSP is held at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, and in California. Again this year, New Mexican students will attend completely free of charge; the $3,600 program fee will be paid by a grant from the state government.
Bright teenagers from around the world come to SSP to spend their days in college-level lectures, and their nights doing hands-on astronomical research. Guest lectures from prominent scientists (many of whom are themselves alumni), and field trips to places like the Very Large Array and Magdalena Ridge Observatory round out the curriculum.
Students describe SSP as an intense, stimulating intellectual and social environment, “the educational experience of a lifetime.” Emphasis is on teamwork and cooperation; neither grades nor formal credit are given. Enrollment is limited to 36 per campus, and eight faculty members live on-site with the students. Current high school juniors are eligible to apply; deadlines are February 22 (first round) and March 21 (final).
Students, parents, and teachers are encouraged to visit www.summerscience.org for more information and an online application. The Summer Science Program is an independent non-profit corporation, managed and largely funded by its own alumni. Additional support comes from New Mexico Tech and Lockheed Martin / Sandia National Labs.